High Court rejects Hall-Mark general manager’s petition
16 March 2016, Nirapad News: The High Court has rejected a writ petition by Tushar Ahmed, general manager of scam-tainted Hall-Mark Group. He had challenged the pressing of charges against him under the Money Laundering Prevention Act-2012 for offences allegedly committed three years earlier, according to a news agency. A bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Amir Hossain rejected the petition on Wednesday, clearing the way for Ahmed’s trial, said Khurshid Alam Khan, counsel for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
However, the defence counsel, Barrister Fakhrul Islam, said they would appeal against the order. In Bangladesh’s one of the largest financial scams, the Hall-Mark Group had drawn over Tk 26 billion from government-run Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla branch using forgery between 2010 and March 2012. After investigation, the ACC on Oct 4, 2012 filed 11 cases in connection with the scam. On Oct 7 next year, the anti-graft watchdog submitted the charge sheet against 25 people including Hall-Mark Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud, Chairman Jesmin Islam and General Manager Ahmed. Ahmed then challenged the effectiveness of Section 31 (3) of the anti-money laundering act in the cases filed against him. In the writ petition, Ahmed said nine of the 11 cases over the scam were filed against him. The incidents of forgery allegedly took place in 2009.
However, charges were pressed against him under a law that was passed three years after the incidents, which should be declared illegal. According to the Section 31 of the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012, any pending case filed under the previous act ‘shall be disposed of in such a manner as if it had been filed and taken under this Act’. Ahmed’s lawyer also argued in the court that nine trials over one incident cannot be allowed, as it contradicts the Section 35 (2) of the Constitution. The section of the constitution says, ‘No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.’
The High Court on Feb 15 issued a rule, asking the government why it should not declare the anti-money laundering law taking retroactive effect contrary to the Constitution. The court rejected the writ petition after receiving the reply.